Brana Dimitrijević

From the War Diary of Dr. Svetislav Barjaktarević: The Visit to Glogovac and the Grave of Janko Veselinović

Svetislav Barjaktarević,[1] a young medical student, was a member of the Field Hospital Re-Bandaging Unit of the First Infantry Division, temporarily stationed in the village of Klenje during the battles at the river Drina in late September and early October 1917. From time to time, he was sent to check on re-bandaging units of different regiments.

"It has stopped raining, but it is awfully muddy. Today," he writes, "I was with my colleague Jovanović in Glogovac. He visited the re-bandaging unit of the 16th Infantry Regiment, whereas I visited that of the 3 rd , which is moving to Crna Bara. I also saw 77-year old Priest Miloš, Janko Veselinović' s father. The Austrians hit the still beautiful and rather big church of Glogovac. It was built in 1848. The church was shelled heavily but only one piece of shrapnel hit the roof.'"

Additionally, Barjaktarevic informs us that Janko Veselinovic's grave is at the cemetery next to the church. "The family fault is big (5m x 5m) and fenced in. Janko's picture is on the marble tombstone. Just across from the church is Janko's house where his father still lives."

Janko Veselinović, the Serbian writer, was born in Crnobarski Salaš and finished his elementary education in Glogovac. He excelled as a first rate pupil, was fond of poetry and had a very pleasant voice, which resonated in the church during liturgy. People still talked about this during Barjaktarević ' s visit. Janko loved people and was loved by people. This feeling of togetherness, coupled with his extensive knowledge of the Serbian mentality and language, can be felt in his literary work. When he writes about spring, it becomes a resurrection of nature. Or, for example, take the ending of the story '"Kevilj" ("a wicked guy"). "Last year he got drunk again when his grandson got married." This means that Janko, once a bad boy, chose the path of righteousness in life and was able to enjoy happy family events. What more could a living soul want?

"It is impossible to read some of his stories and not become sentimental, not feel the poetic electrification throughout the whole inner being, while the heart vibrates with enormous love for everything alive," says Jovan Skerlić about Janko Veselinović. Janko the writer was the same as Janko the man in everyday life. As a village teacher, not yet known as a writer, he used to go to a bookstore in Šabac whenever he received his modest salary and buy books. He would then return to Glogovac, radiating happiness. During long evenings in the fall when people got together for a celebration or just to while away the time, or in winter when they gathered around a fire, Janko used to read stories and poems to the young and the old. "I tried from the bottom of my heart" Janko says, "to enable people to discover the beauty of the written word and if someone showed enthusiasm or shed a tear, I would feel such satisfaction as if those words were mine."

When young Barjaktarević paid his respects at Janko Veselinović's grave, he cast a last look at the church and Priest Miloš's house, sighed, mounted his horse and went to Klenje. The same evening,, before going to bed, he noted in his diary: "Parts of Austrian bridges allegedly flow down the river Drina , together with many corpses."

* SANU. special edition, DLXXIII, Dept. of Medical Sciences, Book 35, Belgrade. 1987.   

Translated from Serbian by Emilija Kićović
Originally published in Medicus 11/2007, #23:15, Belgrade

[1] S. Barjaktarević (1893—1971) started his medical studies in Innsbruck, Austria, and graduated in Prague, Czechoslovakia after WWI; specialized in gynecology and obstetrics; published many professional and scientific papers, seven textbooks and manuals; lost his position of fulltime professor at the Medical Faculty of Belgrade University during the Communist purges of 1954.

На Растку објављено: 2009-03-12
Датум последње измене: 2009-10-30 14:40:57

Пројекат Растко / Историја / Историја медицине